Dregs vs dredge

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Dregs and dredge are two words that are close in pronunciation and spelling, but have very different definitions. We will examine the meanings of the words dregs and dredge, where these two terms came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Dregs are the liquid and sediment left in a receptacle after it has been consumed. Dregs is also used figuratively to mean the lowest, least esteemed part of something, or the leftovers. The singular form, dreg, is listed as acceptable by many dictionaries, but the Oxford English Dictionary only lists the plural form, dregs. The word dregs is derived from the Old Norse word dregg, which means sediment.

Dredge may be used as a verb to mean to clear a channel or the bed of a body of water by scooping out trash, mud and vegetation with machinery. Related words are dredges, dredged, dredging, dredger. Dredge is used as a noun to mean the machinery used to scoop trash, mud and vegetation out of the bed of a body of water. Dredging may be used for a variety of situations, such as keeping navigable waterways clear, fishing for certain mollusks or crustaceans, or mining. Gold prospectors often use this method of gold recovery, digging or using a suction dredge in silt or old tailings. This material is then dumped into a vibrating or rotating trommel, where the gold is separated from the surrounding rocks and dirt, falling into the sluice box. Any size of the precious metal may be caught in this manner, from a gold nugget to gold dust. The use of the gold dredge has improved the efficiency of gold mining, and led to the establishment of large corporations using gold mining equipment to prospect. The word dredge is also a cooking term, meaning to drag an item through a dry substance such as flour or sugar. Dredge is also used in the expression to dredge up, meaning to bring attention to something that others would like to forget. The word dredge is most probably derived from the Scottish term dreg-boat, which is derived from the Middle Dutch word dregghe which means drag net.


“The very dregs of higher education in this country offer extremely poor quality education, yet still have the power to admit foreign students.” (The Washington Examiner)

Governing Board of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) on Thursday, commended the Federal Government’s commitment to dredge River Benue to reduce flooding. (The Sundiata Post)